3 back-up starting pitcher targets for the Braves with Sonny Gray off the market

Braves fans got a rude awakening yesterday with the news that Sonny Gray is off the market.

Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84)
Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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Jordan Montgomery

While the Braves have been reticent to sign free agents (especially pitchers) to long-term, big money deals, there have been some signs that Anthopoulos does have an open mind about it. The Braves were obviously in on Gray who was always going to command $21+ million a year and Atlanta was reported as willing to give Aaron Nola a six year deal for north of $160 million before he went back to the Phillies. Assuming that those reports are true and the Braves can still spend a good bit on a starter, the guy they need to key in on is Jordan Montgomery.

No player made themselves more money from their play on the field in 2023 than Montgomery. After several years of being a super reliable source of quality innings for the Yankees and Cardinals, Monty broke out in 2023 with St. Louis and Texas with a 3.20 ERA and dominating after the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline including during Texas' playoff run.

Montgomery checks a lot of boxes that should appeal to the Braves even though he is going to require at least five years at $25+ million to sign. He doesn't get a ton of swing and miss, but he throws a lot of strikes and both his fastball and curve grade out well despite not being overpowering offerings. As an added bonus, Monty wasn't eligible to receive a qualifying offer this offseason, so there is no worry about losing any draft picks to sign him given that the Braves are over the luxury tax threshold.

If the Braves are going to actually spend a chunk of money on a starter this offseason, and that is still a big "if", they can do a lot worse than signing Jordan Montgomery.